It’s that time of year again where The Dankles writers count down our top tracks of 2013! This year, I have the honor of presenting the awards for the top 10 deep house releases of 2013. In a year that saw a meteoric rise in popularity for the underground sound, this list was nearly impossible for me to compile and even harder to rank. Also included in my list this year as an added bonus for you headstrong deep house listeners, is an exclusive mix that provides the top 13 secret weapons of 2013 (though, not necessarily released in 2013). So, without further adieu, here are my rankings for the best deep house releases of the year.
Exclusive Mix – Maalik’s Top 13 Secret Weapons of 2013
10. Emperor EP – Infinity Ink
Highlights: Emperor and Maceo Plex Last Disco Remix
Undoubtably THE song of this years WMC was Maceo Plex‘s remix of Infinity Ink‘s eerie yet driving “Emperor.” Released on Crosstown Rebels back in March, the original track is filled with soulful and ghostly lyrics accompanied by an infectious bassline. Maceo Plex’s remix kicks up the BPM a little and works the original into a peak-time masterpiece full of twists and turns that will delight an unsuspecting crowd. With Ali Love on vocals and Luca C. behind the decks, the duo have been playing a magnificently dark live set that’s full of unreleased remixes and edits.
9. Scala EP – Agoria
Once Innervisions’ godfather Dixon started dropping Agoria’s track “Scala” in almost every set he played this summer, we knew that the Scala EP would be making our top 10 list. The native Frenchman, Sebastian Devaud, a.k.a. Agoria, single handedly rejuvenated the unpredictability and spontaneity of the underground techno scene. The Scala EP is fused with dense, escalating synths and a carefully crafted piano progression in both tracks, which Agoria composes into two beautiful songs. Both tracks are produced with an exuberant array of cords, synths, and deep basslines, which makes the EP one of the most invigorating releases of the year. Through his Scala EP, Agoria managed to capture the true versatility of techno, while simultaneously establishing an enduring name for himself on dancefloors all over the world.
8. dirtybird Players (Part 1 & 2) – VA – dirtybird Records
Highlights: Wheelgunner & Rood Boy
Alright, I know that these are technically two separate releases, but seriously what’s not to like about either of them? Issued as a follow-up to their widely-successful Hatched series, the dirtybird Players features dirtybird‘s signature booty-tech sound. Every single track off both compilations are dancefloor-fillers ready to get those bootys clapping.
7. Our G-House Sauce EP – Amine Edge & DANCE
Highlights: Let It Bump & Lost
Released just a month ago, I truly consider this album a pivotal turning point for the burgeoning G-house scene. Being the first release on Rob Made‘s new sub-label, Sleazy G, the godfathers of G-house, Amine Edge & DANCE, really set the tone for any future releases on the imprint. Sampling the likes of Tyga, Missy Elliott, Zebra Katz, and Frank Ocean, this is an album that will hit home with b-boys and deep house lovers alike. I’m going to go ahead and call it right now, 2014 will be completely taken over by this G-house trend, and frankly, I couldn’t be happier.
Purchase: Our G-House Sauce EP – Amine Edge & DANCEAmine Edge & DANCE on Facebook | SoundCloud
6. Miami Sleaze LP – VA – Sleazy Deep
Highlights: Waiting To Love You & As If
Hands-down the breakout label of 2013, Sleazy Deep, provided us with arguably the best compilation of the year right before WMC. The Sleazy crew has been pushing a unique new synth-heavy sound that’s absolutely perfect for clubs or pool parties alike. With over 30 tracks that are chalk-full of funky, sexy, and vicious grooves, this compilation encompasses everything that Rob Made has been pushing with his Sleazy Deep imprint. Out of all the albums on this list, this one definitely gets the most repeats on my iTunes.
5. Different Sides Of The Sun – Hot Natured
Highlights: Operate, Physical Control, Different Sides, Benediction & Forward Motion
When it was announced that Infinity Ink (Luca C. & Ali Love) were joining forces with Jamie Jones and Lee Foss of Hot Natured fame, I knew we were in for something special. Taking stripped-back deep house grooves and adding hints of a more mainstream poppy sound, Hot Natured provided a platform to bridge the underground sound with mainstream radio-play. Though this album received many critiques for being “too poppy” by the underground scene, and I’m sure there will be backlash for putting it in my top 5, it still ranks up in my eyes due to the fact that the super-group created an essentially never-before-heard sound capable of protruding into the limelight of non-house listeners. Beyond that, the group joined forces with vocalist Anabel Englund and performed an extremely innovative live set that was more suited for a rock band than a deep house group.
Purchase: Different Sides Of The Sun – Hot NaturedHot Natured on Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud
4. Requiem EP – Ten Walls
Highlights: Requiem & Ankaris
Ten Walls (a.k.a. Mario Basanov) really knows how to take the listeners on a journey through the music-time continuum. Following his massively-charted Gotham EP, Basanov used much of the same forumla that made his moniker’s debut such a future-classic. With harmonic synths accompanied by trippy FX and driving basslines, this EP has quickly become a favorite for any afterhours set. The whole album has been championed by nearly everyone after 4 A.M. these last few months, and when you give it a listen, you’ll understand why.
3. Another Earth EP – Tale Of Us
Highlights: Another Earth & Lost City
2013 marks another epic year for Carmine and Matteo, a.k.a. the Italian duo, Tale of Us. Without a doubt the pinnacle of their year has been the release of their highly anticipated Another Earth EP. Released on Richie Hawtin‘s esteemed label, M-nus, back in April, the three track EP is a stellar example of the duo’s desire to incorporate infectiously dark techno cords with a surprisingly groovy percussion ensemble. Their ability to blend such a versatile array of obscure sounds in their productions makes Tale of Us a top pick for The Dankles in 2013.
2. Any Amounts EP – Patrick Topping
Highlights: Every track
If you’re looking for gritty, rolling, bassline-oriented tracks, look no further. Released as a follow-up to his widely successful (and charted) Walk On EP, we knew Patrick Topping really had to bring it with this one, and boy, did he ever. The title track, “Any Amounts,” is a funky, peak-time groove that’s simply irresistible to sit still with as Topping withdraws the bass and releases it at a perfect time throughout. “Look Around” was one of my favorite B-sides this year, with Jamie Jones and the entire Hot Creations crew championing it throughout 2013. The basslines throughout the whole EP consist of sounds that I’ve literally never heard before, and Topping’s excellent understanding of the dancefloor allows him to work the energy of the crowd throughout all four tracks.
1. Too Underground For The Main Stage – Cajmere
Highlights: Every track
Don’t call it a comeback, cause Cajmere‘s been here for twenty years. Starting his musical journey back in 1991, techno guru Curtis Jones a.k.a. Green Velvet a.k.a. Cajmere has kept a strictly underground vibe for all of his tracks, becoming an absolute legend in his own right (flying under the radar for many not in-the-know). Being the label boss of Cajmere Records and Relief Records (which both has massive years in 2013), Cajmere released this gem back in May of this year. The name of the record alone should tell you what to expect, as Jones shows his depth in music production throughout the album. With vicious deep house tracks such as “1+1=1” next to soulful techno tracks such as “We Can Make It,” next to disco-infused dance tracks like “Brighter Days,” this album is hands-down the most well-rounded house release of the year. Once you give the whole album a full rinse, I think it will be pretty obvious that this had to be our #1 release of the year.
Purchase: Too Underground For The Main Stage – Cajmere
Cajmere on Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud
What do you think of our list? What did we miss out on? Let us know below!